Why You Need a Business Restaurant

A view of the sushi bar at Soma, my main business restaurant. September 6, 2013.

A view of the sushi bar at Soma, my main business restaurant. September 6, 2013.

If you entertain for business—whether partners, clients, or employees—you should have a standard go-to restaurant.

By all means, go somewhere else if the guest prefers. Yet when inviting someone for a meal, you should always suggest a place. And your suggestion should always be your business restaurant: a place not so flashy or pricey that the guest doesn’t wonder about your expense account or worry she missed the invitation’s special occasion, but nice enough to provide a pleasant, relaxed meal.

But why?

  • Host familiarity. You’ll get seated at choice tables—often with the best servers. Also, he’ll know who you are when people come in separately and ask for you.

  • Server awareness. The wait staff will know what you like and how you like it when it comes to food and service.

  • The manager knows your name. You’ll get perks, reservations leverage, and early scoops on new and off-the-menu items.

  • Cache. The host, server, and manager recognize you? Their attentiveness will help you look important. (In many business situations, cache is a necessary evil).

  • Toss the menu. Business meals have agendas. When you know the restaurant, you have a handful of go-to dishes. Not worrying about what to order allows you to focus on your guest and the conversation.

  • You’re truly hosting. When you know the staff and the menu, you can recommend dishes with confidence, which gives your guests a better dining experience.

But I like trying different places, you cry. I’ll get sick of eating at the same place so often.

I hear you. Try every restaurant in town. Just go with friends or colleagues when you’re not entertaining for business.

Do you have a business restaurant?